The Proletariat Must Take A Firm Hold of the Gun-August 1967

 "Warmly hail the formation of the revolutionary committee of Beijing"

“Warmly hail the formation of the revolutionary committee of Beijing”

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is a great army personally founded by our great leader Chairman Mao and under the direct command of Comrade Lin Piao. Armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought and truly in the hands of the people, it is a most powerful revolutionary army, without match in the world. For the past 40 years, under the leadership of our great supreme commander Chairman Mao, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has grown from small to big and from weak to strong.

Through hard fighting and heroic sacrifice, it smashed the five large-scale “encirclement and suppression” campaigns launched by the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries, triumphantly carried out the 25,000-li Long March known to all the world, defeated the overbearing Japanese aggressors, and knocked out of action the 8 million reactionary troops of the Kuomintang equipped by U.S. imperialism; in the war to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea, together with the Korean people, it defeated the aggressor troops of 16 countries knocked together by U.S. imperialism, which is most ferocious; thus it has fought with great distinction in the service of the Chinese people and the people of the world.

The great Chinese People’s Liberation Army is a revolutionary flower watered with the blood of countless revolutionary martyrs; it is the pride and glory of the people of China and the whole world. It is not only the pillar of the dictatorship of the proletariat in our country, but also a powerful force backing the people of the world in their revolutionary struggle. In August 1927, under the guidance of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, the August 1 Nanchang Uprising fired the first shot against the Kuomintang reactionaries. This took place after the Kuomintang had completely betrayed the revolution and in the circumstances in which the correct line represented by Chairman Mao had defeated the Right opportunist line of Ch’en Tu-hsiu. In September, on the basis of the peasant movement in Hunan, our great leader Chairman Mao personally led the peasants in revolt, launching the’ Autumn Harvest Uprising of great historic significance, and then creating the Chingkang Mountain base. The Chinese people started their armed struggle under the guidance of the correct line and began to have a people’s army of a completely new type.

The Autumn Harvest Uprising and the great march to the Chingkang Mountains are of epoch-making significance in the history of the Chinese revolution and in the history of the building of our Army. It opened up the revolutionary road for the vanguard of the proletariat to go into the countryside, lead the peasants in carrying out armed struggle, establish rural base areas and use the countryside to encircle the cities and seize state power throughout the country. Chairman Mao’s brilliant theory of using the countryside to encircle the cities and seizing state power with arms is a development of genius of Marxism-Leninism. It has not only opened up the only correct road for the Chinese people to win nationwide victory, but also pointed out the broad road for the proletarian and the oppressed people throughout the world to win genuine liberation. Chairman Mao says: “The army is the chief component of state power. Whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army.”

The exploiting classes invariably rely on violence to maintain their rule and carry out ruthless exploitation and plunder of the people. The slightest resistance on the part of the exploited class is met with bloody suppression by the reactionary troops. The reactionaries have swords in their hands. The revolutionary people too must take up swords. War is the highest form of class struggle. The people cannot liberate themselves if they do not take hold of the gun and do not use revolutionary arms to oppose counter-revolutionary arms. Without a people’s army, the people have no hope of victory in any of their resistance struggles. Even if they achieve something temporarily, the moment the enemy carries out armed suppression they will lose everything. The worst crime of the revisionists is precisely that they are opposed to the people waging armed struggle and to the proletariat taking hold of the gun.

So it was with the old-line revisionists Bernstein and Kautsky and so it is with the modern revisionists Khrushchev, Thorez, Togliatti, Dange and E.M.S. Namboodiripad and their like. China’s top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, like all counter-revolutionary revisionists, has all along opposed armed struggle, called for the parliamentary road and carried out capitulationism with all his might. In the period of the War of Resistance Against Japan, he shamelessly lauded Chiang Kai-shek as “the revolutionary banner” and stood for turning over the people’s army to the “national government” of Chiang Kai-shek to “lead.” After victory in the war of resistance, he was openly for handing over the people’s army to the Kuomintang reactionaries. Chairman Mao thoroughly repudiated the counter-revolutionary revisionist line of giving up the people’s army and the armed struggle. Under his brilliant leadership, the Chinese people and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army kept to the road of armed struggle, won victory in the democratic revolution and established a great state of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In protracted revolutionary war, Chairman Mao created the most comprehensive, most scientific and greatest military theory. In the resolution of the Kutien Congress and in a series of other military writings, Chairman Mao worked out a genuine proletarian military line. This is the peak of Marxist-Leninist military theory. This is the most powerful weapon for the revolutionary people of the world to defeat imperialism and all other class enemies. Chairman Mao says: “Only with guns can the whole world be transformed.” This is the summing up of the experience gained by the proletariat of China and of the world at the cost of their blood. This is a universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. This truth is being daily grasped by the proletariat, the oppressed people and nations throughout the world. The revolutionary people in many areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America are rising and driving out their opportunist leaders. They are courageously taking up guns, establishing people’s armies, waging armed struggles, rebelling in a big way against U.S.-led imperialism and all reactionaries and against modern revisionism with the leading clique of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as its centre, and carrying on a great heroic and stubborn battle against the old world.

During the whole period of socialism, class struggle finds concentrated expression in the struggle between the bourgeoisie for restoration and the proletariat against restoration. In striving for restoration the bourgeoisie certainly seeks to control the Army and grasp the gun. In order to consolidate their proletarian dictatorship and smash the bourgeoisie’s conspiracy for a come-back, it is imperative for the proletariat too to take a firm hold of the gun and keep firm hold of the Army. For a fairly long historical period after seizing state power, the proletariat is faced with the danger of losing state power; similarly, after establishing the Army, it still faces the danger of losing it. Should the Army be lost and its power usurped by bad elements, then everything achieved by the proletariat and the working people will come to nought.

The usurping of power in the army and the counter-revolutionary coup ‘d’etat by the Khrushchev revisionist clique in the Soviet Union has provided a serious lesson. The top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road is the chief representative of the forces seeking capitalist restoration. P’eng Teh-huai and Lo Jui-ch’ing were his agents in the Army. P’eng Teh-huai is a big conspirator, big careerist, and big warlord. For decades he persistently took the stand of the reactionary bourgeoisie and opposed Chairman Mao. In the past struggles between the two lines, he invariably stood on the opportunist side and opposed the correct line of Chairman Mao. In 1953 he, Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih formed a P’eng-Kao-Jao anti-Party alliance.

In 1959 he was the ringleader of the anti-Party clique exposed at the Party’s Lushan conference. Lo Jui-ch’ing, too, is a bourgeois conspirator and careerist. As far back as the period of the War of Resistance Against Japan, he colluded with P’eng Teh-huai and P’eng Chen in opposing Chairman Mao, stubbornly implemented the Wang Ming capitulationist line and shamelessly lauded the people’s common enemy Chiang Kai-shek as the “supreme commander” in the War of Resistance Against Japan. Following the nationwide victory, they stepped up their collusion in a desperate attempt to seize hold of the gun and pressed for a bourgeois military line in a vain attempt to turn the people’s army into a tool for a counter-revolutionary restoration. The thought of Mao Tse-tung is the very soul of our Army, its invincible compass and its fundamental guarantee against degeneration.

With a view to transforming the proletarian nature of our Army and usurping military power, P’eng Teh-huai, Lo Jui-ch’ing and their like in the first place directed their spearheads against Mao Tse-tung’s thought. P’eng Teh-huai viciously attacked it by saying that “Chairman Mao’s works can serve only as reference but not as a guide in war operations and in training of army units.” Lo Jui-ch’ing raved that to regard Chairman Mao’s teachings as our supreme directive does not “conform to the system of our state.” He went so far as to energetically peddle the book on “self-cultivation” by the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road and laud it as “the integration of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution” and urge cadres and fighters of the whole Army to “study it well.”

One’s attitude towards Mao Tse-tung’s thought is a touchstone determining whether one is for Marxism-Leninism or for counter-revolutionary revisionism. All the victories won by our Party and Army are great victories for Mao Tse-tung’s thought. The 40 year’s experience of our Army has taught us that whenever people deviate from the guidance of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, they are bound to make mistakes and suffer setbacks and failure. The army is a tool of class struggle, and it is guided either by the ideas of the proletariat or the ideas of the bourgeoisie. The reason why P’eng Teh-huai, Lo Jui-ch’ing and their like desperately opposed Mao Tse-tung’s thought was that they wanted to use bourgeois ideas and the revisionist book on “self-cultivation” to guide our Army and to turn it into a bourgeois army.

In order to change the proletarian nature of our Army and to usurp military power, P’eng Teh-huai, Lo Jui-ch’ing and other counter-revolutionary revisionists made desperate efforts to oppose giving prominence to proletarian politics and to peddle revisionist trash imported from abroad; they worked solely to put the Army on’ a regular basis along bourgeois lines and opposed proletarian revolutionisation. They gave pride of place to military technique and denied that political and ideological work was the factor of first importance in determining fighting capability. The idea that military technique is the basic criterion determining the fighting capability of an army is an out-and-out bourgeois military concept. What gives our Army its greatest fighting capability? Is it aircraft, artillery, or atomic bombs? No, absolutely not. What gives our Army its greatest fighting capability is the invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung; it is our revolutionary fighters armed with Mao Tse-tung’s thought and having a high level of political consciousness.

To oppose giving prominence to proletarian politics while giving pride of place to military technique means giving prominence to bourgeois politics. In fact P’eng Teh-huai, Lo Jui-ch’ing and their like have all along opposed proletarian politics and given prominence to reactionary bourgeois politics. During the War of Resistance Against Japan, P’eng Teh-huai did his utmost to advertise “liberty, equality and fraternity, ” a reactionary bourgeois political concept. In his book Political Work in the Anti-Japanese Armies, Lo Jui-ch’ing made no mention of class struggle or the seizure of political power by the proletariat, and taking a filial attitude towards that enemy of the people, he even used “the greatness of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his life” and the “wisdom, love, bravery,” and “loyalty and benevolence” proclaimed by Chiang Kai-shek as the basic content for political work in the Army.

What they were publicising was nothing but the reactionary politics of the Kuomintang. P’eng Teh-huai and Lo Jui-ch’ing, backed by the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, cultivated their own private influence within the Army, built up their personal prestige, recruited deserters and traitors, formed factions in pursuit of their own selfish interests, maintained illicit relations with foreign countries and conspired to usurp the leadership of the Party and Army. P’eng Teh-huai mustered a handful of ghosts and monsters, who had wormed their way into the Party—alien class elements, speculators, counter-revolutionaries, and old-type army officers who had not yet remoulded themselves—and formed an anti-Party clique and a counterrevolutionary “military club.” Lo Jui-ch’ing formed a conspiratorial anti-Party clique in collusion with other counter-revolutionary revisionists including P’eng Chen, Lu Ting-yi and Yang Shang-k’un.

They did all they could to set up a reactionary bourgeois independent kingdom within the Army. This handful of people were intent on opposing our great leader and supreme commander Chairman Mao and Comrade Lin Piao, who has consistently held high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought. In a word, using counter-revolutionary revisionist, bourgeois junk, P’eng Teh-huai, Lo Jui-ch’ing and their like, agents of China’s Khrushchev within the army, tried their utmost to subvert our army and usurp its leadership. Had they achieved the aim of their intrigues and got the guns into their hands, our state would have changed its political colour, our Party and state would have been destroyed and we would have been slaughtered. In the struggle to build our Army into a highly proletarianised and militant revolutionary army and in the struggle against the conspiracy of the representatives of the bourgeoisie, including P’eng Teh-huai and Lo Jui-ch’ing, to usurp the leadership of the army, a most outstanding contribtuion has been made by Comrade Lin Piao. Comrade Lin Piao is Chairman Mao’s closest comrade-in-arms and his best pupil. He has studied and applied Chairman Mao’s works most successfully and his comprehension of Mao Tse-tung’s thought is most profound. Over the past decades, he has most faithfully, firmly and thoroughly carried out and defended Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line and ideas on military affairs. In every struggle between the two lines, he has stood unequivocally and steadfastly on the side of Chairman Mao’s correct line.

In his writings, such as Hold High the Red Banner of the Party’s General Line and Mao Tse-tung’s Thought on Military Affairs and Advance With Big Strides and Long Live the Victory of People’s War, and in a series of speeches, Comrade Lin Piao has systematically expounded and creatively elaborated Chairman Mao’s ideas on military affairs. Since he took charge of the Military Commission of the Party’s Central Committee, Comrade Lin Piao has creatively put forward the idea of the “four firsts” and called for vigorous development of the “three-eight” working style, democracy in the three main fields and the unfolding of campaigns for “four good” companies. The “Decision on Strengthening Political and Ideological Work in the Armed Forces”, drawn up in accordance with Comrade Lin Piao’s ideas at the 1960 Enlarged Conference of the Military Commission of the Party’s Central Committee, has inherited and carried forward the traditions of the Kutien Congress. Comrade Lin Piao’s great call to all commanders and fighters to “study Chairman Mao’s writings, follow his teachings, act according to his instructions and be his good fighters,” and the principle and method set forth by Comrade Lin Piao of studying the works of Chairman Mao with specific problems in mind, studying and applying his works in a creative way, combining study and application, first studying what must be urgently applied so as to get quick results, and striving hard to apply what one is studying, have given tremendous impetus to the grasping of Mao Tse-tung’s thought by the whole Army and the people throughout the country and to the revolutionisation of their thinking.

The series of important measures proposed by Comrade Lin Piao to maintain the proletarian character of our Army have brought us to a new stage in army building. Chairman Mao has pointed out: The “four firsts” is good; it is an invention. Since Comrade Lin Piao put forward the “four firsts” and the “three-eight” working style, the ideological-political work of the People’s Liberation Army, as well as its military work, has developed remarkably, has become more concrete and at the same time has been raised to a higher theoretical plane than in the past. Holding high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and keeping proletarian politics to the fore, Comrade Lin Piao has thoroughly exposed, criticised and repudiated the bourgeois military ideas of P’eng Teh-huai and Lo Jui-ch’ing and has carried out a resolute struggle against their plot to usurp Party and Army leadership.

In order to prevent the restoration of capitalism, Comrade Lin Piao has laid particular emphasis on the grave importance of ideological struggle and the proletariat’s control of the armed forces. He has pointed out: “The pen and the gun: these are the two props on which one relies in the seizure of political power.” And, “in carrying out subversive activities, the bourgeoisie also gives first place to ideology, first of all, to confuse people ideologically. Another measure is to get armed forces, to get hold of the gun. By co-ordinating the cultural and military fronts they hope to control both public opinion and the gun, thus making it possible for them to stage a counter-revolutionary coup.”

This is a very important thesis.. In the great proletarian cultural revolution, we must expose the handful of people in authority taking the capitalist road in the Party and overthrow and discredit them politically and ideologically. The same must be done with regard to the handful of people in authority taking the capitalist road in the Army. A movement of mass criticism and repudiation is now unfolding throughout the country against the handful of top persons in authority taking the capitalist road in the Party and the Army. This represents the general orientation of the struggle. This will further consolidate the leadership of Mao Tse-tung’s thought in the Army, strengthen the political and ideological building of our Army and push forward the ideological revolutionisation of the whole Army.

In the course of the great proletarian cultural revolution the masses of commanders and fighters of the People’s Liberation Army, who are boundlessly loyal to Chairman Mao, to Mao Tse-tung’s thought and to Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line, have enthusiastically and wholeheartedly supported the masses of the Left as well as industry and agriculture, and have engaged in the work of military control and military-political training. They have made new great contributions to the people. The People’s Liberation Army and the revolutionary masses must enthusiastically respond to their great leader Chairman Mao’s battle call to support the army and cherish the people. The further strengthening of army-civilian unity under the brilliant guidance of Mao Tse-tung’s thought is an important guarantee for the complete victory of the great proletarian cultural revolution.

Long live the great Chinese People’s Liberation Army!

Long live the victory of the great proletarian cultural revolution!

Long live the great Chinese Communist Party!

Long live the invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung!

Long live our great leader and great supreme commander Chairman Mao!

Peking Review. No. 32, August 4, 1967

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